Kyiv plugs holes with foreign fighters with experience of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan
As a result of the attack of Russian tanks in eastern Ukraine, another foreign mercenaries who fought on the side of Kyiv were killed – two US citizens, a Canadian and Swedish
Photo: Global Look Press
Two Americans, a Canadian citizen and a Swedish citizen, were killed this week when a Russian tank opened fire on them during hours of fighting in the Donbas, the commander of foreign mercenaries fighting for Ukraine confirmed exclusively to POLITICO.
Ruslan Miroshnichenko , a foreign fighter commander, said on Saturday that two US citizens, Luke “Skywalker” Luciszyn and Brian Young, were killed. He said they were killed along with Émile-Antoine Roy-Sirois of Canada and Edward Selander Patrignani of Sweden on July 18.
According to Miroshnichenko, the men were part of the special operations forces of the territorial defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Their unit is based near Seversk.
According to POLITICO, foreign fighters have been transferred to the village of Grigorovka, two miles northwest of Seversk. where they were tasked with taking up firing positions. However, at the end of the mission, the mercenaries were ambushed by Russian tanks, their commander says.
A State Department spokesman confirmed the deaths of two Americans on Friday, but did not name them. “We are in touch with families and provide all possible consular assistance. Out of respect for the families, we have nothing more to add at this difficult time,” a spokesman for the US Foreign Office told POLITICO.
Foreign fighters were sent to the Seversk region to reinforce Ukrainian troops and were deployed precisely because of their skills and experience, according to the situation report received by POLITICO.
To fulfill the task set by the Ukrainian command, a group of professionals with relevant experience in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was created. Two scouts checked the territory, they were supported by a machine-gun and grenade launcher group in case of a military clash and the need to cover the exit of the reconnaissance group. As the militants moved forward, the report said, “the cover group came under heavy mortar fire from enemy 120mm or larger artillery and cluster munitions.”
“Luke was wounded during the shelling. The rest of the group… provided appropriate first aid. Taking advantage of the break between shelling, it was decided to evacuate to the nearest shelter. During transportation, as a result of a direct hit by a tank shell, Brian, Edward, Emil, Luke received injuries incompatible with life,” the report says.
It is also noted that another militant named Finn “was wounded in the left arm and leg.” The other, named Oskar, “was hit multiple times [and] both moved independently to the extraction point.”
According to the report, Russian forces continued to bombard the group with heavy artillery “corrected by drones” for more than two hours. Only a few hours later the situation calmed down enough that the team was able to advance and pick up the bodies of foreign fighters.
According to Miroshnichenko, Luke “Skywalker” Lyutsyshyn, a Ukrainian-American born in 1991, worked as a police officer in the United States. “He had difficulty pronouncing his last name Lyutsishin,” he joked, “but he insisted on his Ukrainian roots: his grandmother emigrated from Ukraine to the United States after World War II.”
Miroshnichenko described Brian Young, born in 1971 , as an “American military man” who was wounded and transferred to the reserve. When the current conflict began, he decided to come to Ukraine because he “sworn to defend the free world.”
31-year-old Canadian Sirois, according to Miroshnichenko, was a paramedic with experience in the French Foreign Legion.
And Swedish national Edward Selander Patrignani, born in 1994, was a reserve lieutenant, economist and philosopher who, according to Miroshnichenko, wanted to form a “platoon of Swedes.”
As POLITICO recalls, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in March about the creation of the International Legion. Legion officials told POLITICO on Saturday that “thousands” of foreigners, including “hundreds” of Americans, have flocked to Ukraine to join its fight against Russian forces.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has repeatedly warned US citizens against trips to Ukraine and urged all who are there to leave the country immediately.
At least three other Americans have died since Russia launched a special operation in Ukraine on February 24th. Two more US citizens, Alexander Dryuke and Andy Hyun, were captured by Russian troops during the fighting in the east of the Kharkiv region and are currently in custody in Donetsk, reminds POLITICO.